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MOVERS&SHAKEUPS By Bill Huffman


New Grand Canyon golf course looks like win-win for city, GCU


Maryvale Golf Course at Indian School Road and 59th


G Avenue, once one of the


City of Phoenix’s venerable municipals, ain’t what she used to be. Seriously, the redesigned course


by Scottsdale architect John Fought is stunning in all its greenery and newly built bunkering. And the clubhouse, which will be the home of the Grand Canyon men’s and women’s golf teams, also is a knockout for a 12,500-square- foot facility that also has an awesome 19th


hole element to it. Jesse Mueller, the former


Arizona State All-American and touring pro who is now GCU Golf Course’s general manager, said the team that helped Fought build the new layout, chiefly superintendent Dean Hall and his crew, could not be happier with the results of the $10 million project that was financed solely by GCU. “The course was ready


November 1, but it took until early January to get all the permitting issues resolved and finish the clubhouse,” Mueller noted. “But you look at it now, and not only does it look fantastic, but the greens are rolling at 11 (on the Stimp Meter) already, and the overseed came in really green and strong.” One of the first events held at


GCU was the JGAA’s Winter Classic. According to JGAA executive director Scott McNevin, his kids were impressed. “It looks great, like a new golf course.


We liked the changes a lot, especially to the bunkers, which are now big-time,” McNevin said of the course that was originally built by William F. Bell and dates back to 1961. “It probably plays a little tougher,


especially from the tips, but I think they did a great job.”


36 | AZ GOLF Insider | PREVIEW 2016 The project, which involves a 30-year


lease between the city (the owner) and GCU (the operator), was conceived and carried out under the watchful eye of the university’s president and CEO, Brian Mueller, who also happens to be Jesse’s dad. It certainly looks like a win-win, as the city is no longer saddled with a golf course that was suffering financially, and Grand Canyon apparently has hit the mother lode if the golfing public agrees with the early reviews. The price certainly is right. Visitors


will get to play GCU golf course for a peak season green fee of $45 (to walk) and $55 (to ride), while Phoenix resident cardholders will pay $35 and $45. Those fees will go down in the summertime and for twilight play. “I think people are liking (the price)


and what they see, because we’ve been extremely busy,” said Mueller, who along with his father has made this a family project, as Jesse’s younger brother, Mark, also is in the role of GCU’s golf coach. “What we’re hearing is that it’s a


really fun golf course, where you can hit your ball anywhere an find it. That’s because there are no forced carries or, for that matter, desert.” The redesign will stun you from the


get-go, as the first five holes are riveting, what with Fought’s bunkers defining good shots and bad. The closing stretch, the signature of any good golf course, is truly outstanding, with memorable tee shots at the 16th


, 17th and 18th holes.


And the variety is never-ending, with driveable par 4s (Nos. 5 and 13), long


www.azgolf.org


rand Canyon University Golf Course opened in early January to rave reviews. Yes, the old


Inside the clubhouse at Grand Canyon University Golf Course.


COURTESY OF GRAND CANYON UNIVERSITY


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